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UNDP shares Korea’s COVID-19 fight for SMEs

Participants attend a webinar on Korea’s efforts to help SMEs during the COVID-19 pandemic. (UNDP Seoul Policy Centre)
Participants attend a webinar on Korea’s efforts to help SMEs during the COVID-19 pandemic. (UNDP Seoul Policy Centre)

United Nations Development Program’s Seoul Policy Centre on Friday co-hosted a webinar with the Trade Ministry and the Korea International Trade Association to share the efforts to support small and medium-sized enterprises and businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Participants included representatives from the private sector, government officials, civil society and UN practitioners.

The webinar brought together participants from 21 countries for an exchange of insights and sharing of information on programs to support businesses during the pandemic, UNDP said.

“Global challenges like the current COVID-19 crisis affect businesses and livelihoods, and we have to address these challenges,” said Stephan Klingebiel, director of UNDP Seoul Policy Centre.

“This is why I hope today’s exchange of ideas based on examples of the Korean government policy measures and private sector responses, as well as insights from UNDP’s approach to support SMEs, will be a catalyst for achieving positive outcomes for many of our partners in developing countries.”

As one of the first countries to be hit by the pandemic in January, Korea has introduced policy measures to sustain businesses and employment such as financial and tax support, loans and investment for SMEs and businesses during the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has no borders, and it challenges us to rethink the system that helped Korea overcome poverty and paved the path to prosperity. We hope that sharing Korea’s COVID-19 response will provide tips and directions for other countries and international organizations,” noted Jo Hak-hee, vice president for International Affairs at KITA.

Members of the corporate representatives also presented their experiences. You Jae-hyung, CEO of SolGent, a producer and exporter of COVID-19 test kits, described the measures the company has taken to turn the crisis into an opportunity, and the support it has received from government that helped mitigate the challenges.

Choi Jae-ho of the Corporate Responsibility Team at Hyundai Motor Group described the investments Hyundai has made in its value chain to support SMEs.